The Anatomy of Deception: Civility’s Death

I have multiple friends and acquaintances writing and talking about the lack of civility and kindness in our world today. Some are upset. Some are downright lost. And these are my Christian friends. “Where is the Gal 5 fruit of the spirit?” they ask.  This was of course brought on by last night’s 2020 presidential debate. I think the problem goes much deeper than mere civility.  The fruit of the spirit is called fruit for a reason.  It is grown not brought into existence by an act of human will. While our thoughts and actions as well as those of others may plant and water spiritual seed, only God can cause them to grow. 1 Cor 3:6-8

“No one can receive anything unless it comes from heaven.” John 3:27

Like the widow in Luke 18, everyone seems to be crying out for justice and righteousness as if it could somehow be obtained by the hand of man. As always, the root problem remains one of belief. That may be why the subject of belief occurs one hundred forty-eight times in the New Testament alone.  

Do we really believe what God has said?  

While Jesus assures us that God will “avenge His own elect who cry out to Him for (justice) day and night”, the question remains, “when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8

As Christians, we need to constantly reevaluate whether our belief aligns with the word of God.

This is particularly challenging when we are constantly gaslit by a mammon worshiping world and media. Mat 6:24

A lot of people put a lot of faith in politics in hope that MAGA or Socialism will be synonymous with “on earth as it is in heaven.” I am certainly not immune to this errant and emotive point of view especially when I choose to swim in the sewer stream media cesspool. I was upset, actually disgusted with the charade I witnessed last night.

Then I caught myself.

What exactly did I expect?

The leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees in Mat 16:6 and of Herod in Mk:8 refers to the political spirit. I have mentioned this before, but the Pharisees and Sadducees weren’t just religious leaders, they were also the two main opposing political parties of the day.  Jesus warns us to avoid their nonsense.  Furthermore, while he specifically addresses the religiosity more than the political spirit of the Jews in Gal 5, the principle that “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” remains valid where ever leaven is found.

Right now there is so much leaven that people on all sides are talking about a coming hot civil war.

A big problem is the plethora of incorrect doctrines resulting from poor exegesis that effectively puts the eschatological outcome in man’s court and with it the stress of causing the kingdom of heaven to manifest on earth through his own effort. I won’t argue every false doctrine here. But suffice it to say that if you consistently suffer from things like confusion, anger, doubt, guilt, anxiety, unforgiveness, unresolved grief, and or a general lack of peace then you might want to look at your theology and worldview in contrast with what the word of God actually says.

Some of you need to surrender to the Lord.

Of course, this is foolishness to those who are perishing. We can’t argue anyone into the kingdom. 1 Cor 1:18 We know that blindness is the root cause. 2 Cor 4:4 Therfore they will mock and scoff. Still, “the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation” 2 Pet 3

Biblically, we are on an eschatological timeline that while disputed in terms of specifics is and has been measurably progressing toward the fulfillment of the Mat 24:14, Daniel 7:13-14 “gospel of the kingdom”.  While the world and the body of Christ seem consumed with American politics as if Jesus were a US citizen and the USA were Israel, there are a lot of Mat 24:31-33 fig tree signs appearing right now.  For example, the treaty between the UAE and Israel and its corresponding antithesis between the likes of Iran, Palestine, and Hamas, etc. is a perfect paradigm for the Dan 11 Kingdoms of the North and South. The Temple Mount may soon be placed in the jurisdiction of Israel instead of Jordan.  The Jewish Orthodoxy has everything ready to reinstitute the daily sacrifice in fact plans are being made as I write. Obviously, there is more to this than I can cover now and I would be happy to explain it. My point here is that if we don’t understand the eschatological significance of this and the days in which we live, then we don’t understand the Gospel of the Kingdom at all. We risk falling prey to false hopes and promises that heaven will somehow emerge out of this earthly Babylon.

That said, the correlation between our global society today and 2 Tim 3:1-9 seems clear.

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith;  but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.”

Verses 12-13 define the proper expectations regarding politics and politicians.

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

Verse 14 – 15 define our correct response to the whole mess

“But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

Verses 16-17 reaffirm our source for discerning truth and its ultimate authority regarding any matter.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

“Therefore, we need to “be diligent to present ourselves approved to God, workers who do not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer…” 2 Tim 2:15-17

We do so “lest anyone cheat us through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” Col 2:8

“So that we may pull down strongholds, cast down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Cor 10:4-5

The first step in accomplishing all this is to subject every thought, every emotion every word we take into our minds to the Acts 17:11 standard of the Bereans who

“received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things (Paul said) were so.”

Jesus’s first warning to the disciples when they inquired about the last days was “take heed that no one deceives you.” He promised tribulation within which “lawlessness will abound and the love of many will grow cold.” Mat 24:12-13 and said that we must “endure to the end to be saved” Our belief must align with the word of God. I know a lot of Christians are hoping for an easier softer way.  I will certainly take it if it comes.  However, don’t expect to encounter civility or kindness apart from that which flows from you.

In the meantime, I pray that I and everyone will have the faith, grace, and endurance to be kind while enduring and obedient in a world hell-bent on ushering in the Baphomet.

See that no one deceives you.

If you don’t quit you win. Mat 24:29-31